How does a baby's vision develop in their first year?

Did you know? Your baby’s eyes will begin to develop at around four to six weeks of pregnancy, and open for the first time at around 26 to 27 weeks. However, in the comfort and safety of the womb, they are unaccustomed to the bright lights and visual stimulation of the outside world. 

So, when your baby is born, it’s a whole new world of new sights and colours. After spending months in the womb, this can be a little overwhelming - and naturally, it will take them a while to adjust! Take a look at how your baby’s vision may develop in their first year.



Newborn babies are very sensitive to bright lights, and can only see around 8 to 10 inches in front of them. So, they’ll love gazing into your face when you’re holding them - this is probably as far as they can see! 

They’ll likely respond best to larger shapes, and primarily black and white alongside bright colours. At this age, your baby won’t be able to distinguish between similar colours. While their eyesight will be poor to begin with, as they adapt and grow this will improve; and as the months go by and their eye muscles strengthen you’ll notice them becoming more focused and aware of their surroundings.

This is a good time to hang a mobile with strong, contrasting colours and patterns for your little one just above where they sleep. Alternatively, you can get night lights which project shapes onto the ceiling and walls - great for those using Moses Baskets.

Cute baby with mobile

Three - four months

Your baby should now be able to see much further ahead of them; and they will start to track moving objects with their eyes. As their eyes begin to work together, you may notice them focusing on objects more; they will also begin to gain a perception of depth, and hint at hand eye coordination. 

As their motor skills develop, it’s important to nurture and encourage them. Spend time playing with them and helping them to see the world through your eyes; and make sure they have good, age-appropriate toys to play with and learn from.

Five to seven months

At around five months old, your baby should be able to see in full or near to full colour. As their sight improves, so does their hand eye coordination, and they may begin to grab at objects around them more intentionally. 

Baby gyms and sensory playtime activities are great ways to help your baby indulge their natural curiosity and develop their motor skills - including their eyesight.

Clair de Lune baby toys

Eight to twelve months

At around eight months old, your baby may begin to crawl - bringing with it a whole new world of opportunity (and a renewed focus on watching their every move for you!). By this point, they should be able to recognise you from a relatively far distance of a few metres, and their hand eye coordination will be improving too. 

As the months go by, you will notice your baby beginning to track moving objects at an increasing speed; judge depth and distance even more accurately; and even grasp items independently.  

Their natural curiosity by the age of twelve months means they may enjoy slightly more challenging toys. Trips out and about will still stimulate their minds and encourage visual development: talk to them as you go, telling them all about what you can see as this helps them begin to understand words and associate them with their surroundings.

Did you know that your child’s vision continues to develop until they are around four to six years old? Every baby develops at a different rate, however if you feel your child is missing important milestones, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor to rule out any problems, and put your mind at ease.

As your baby develops, so much changes, including their sleeping habits as well as their vision.

Why not check out some of our bedside cribs and Moses baskets, plus bedding and accessories to make the most of every bed time.


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